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Update: The Groves dealing with coronavirus outbreak

Mike Genet

Health officials have traced a COVID-19 outbreak this week at a long-term care residential facility in Independence to an asymptomatic staff member.

As of Friday morning, officials had confirmed 36 total cases at The Groves, off Truman Road between Crysler and Forest avenues in northeast Independence. Of those cases, 24 are residents and 12 staff members, and Groves CEO Dee Shaffer said most cases thus far appear to be asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, and no hospitalizations, and all resident cases have been confined to a single unit on one floor.

The Groves had reported no COVID-19 cases until this week. By Thursday afternoon, the facility had confirmed 35 cases. Shaffer said they later received one more positive case out of 165 test results – a staff member who has been contacted and is not working.

Shaffer said The Groves discovered the positive case early this week, that person was sent home after a health screening, as were as those with whom that person had come into contact.

“After investigation, we were able to determine that the likely source of the outbreak could be traced to one asymptomatic staff member, and our safeguards did not appear to fail,” Shaffer said in a release Thursday. “No symptoms had been reported for the previous two weeks or more leading up to the day the individual reported symptoms.”

The Groves has notified all staff, residents and family of the situation, and Shaffer said she defends the staff’s work during the whole pandemic.

The city of Independence says it is working with The Groves and the Jackson County and state health departments for additional testing needs. Mayor Eileen Weir the outbreak is reminder to remain consistent with basic public health precautions even as restrictions start to ease around the state and country.

“Facilities like The Groves have gone above and beyond in taking all necessary precautions to protect their staff and those they serve,” Weir said in a release. “This is a sobering reminder why diligence is so important as we continue to combat COVID-19.”